In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, why does Scout wear her pork costume on the way home in Chapter 28?

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In Chapter 28 of Lee's To Kill a MockingbirdScout's part in the Halloween pageant is that of ham. Scout's ham costume represents one of the agricultural products farmed and sold in Maycomb County. All Scout has to do is walk on stage and stand on her spot when Mrs. Merriweather says, "Pork." Unfortunately, Mrs. Merriweather speaks for thirty minutes before calling Scout to the stage. In the meantime, Scout falls asleep under her costume and misses the first three times Mrs. Merriweather screams "Pork!"

In response to Scout's tardiness, Mrs. Merriweather corners her after the performance and tells her that she ruined the pageant. Jem tries to console his sister as best as he can, but when he asks Scout if she wants to take it off for the walk home, she says, "Naw, I'll just keep it on," because she wants to "hide [her] mortification under it" (259). Scout is so embarrassed that she waits until everyone is out of the building before emerging from the wings to walk home with Jem. Keeping the ham costume on helps Scout conceal her shame until she can get home and forget about missing her cue.

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Scout decided to keep her ham costume on after the show in order to "hide my mortification under it." Scout had missed her cue during the show, and Mrs. Merriweather had to call out "Pork!" at least three times before Scout finally made her very late entrance. Her appearance was apparently so hilarious that Judge Taylor had to leave the auditorium; he was "slapping his knees so hard" that his wife had to bring him some water and one of his pills. It's a lucky thing that Scout kept on her chicken mesh costume, because it proved to be the insulation that saved her from the slashing knife wielded later by Bob Ewell.

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